AG Nessel urges FDA to further ease restrictions on LGBTQ blood donors during COVID-19 pandemic

Gay, bisexual men have waiting period

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and 19 other AGs sent a letter Wednesday urging the Food and Drug Administration to further ease restrictions on blood donors in the LGBTQ community during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

There has been a shortage of blood during the virus outbreak and organizations have been requesting people donate if they are able.

READ: Red Cross faces severe blood shortages amid coronavirus outbreak, calls on healthy donors to contribute

This urgent need for blood led the FDA to reduce the wait period after sexual activity for gay and bisexual men from 12 months to three months.

The attorney generals said this doesn’t do enough, and pushed for a risk-based, gender neutral screening model.

"One thing we know for sure is COVID-19 does not discriminate and it definitely doesn’t consider one’s sexual orientation prior to infecting them,” Nessel said. “These are unprecedented times and as we concentrate much of our energy on slowing the spread of this disease, our response should also include encouraging everyone to donate blood to restore the supply that has drastically plummeted.”

The AGs cited data from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law Williams Institute that suggested lifting restrictions completely, as compared to a 12-month waiting period, would produce more than 2 million additional eligible blood donors. This could lead to nearly 300,000 pints of additional donated blood annually.

Read the full letter below: